Ever since our daughter was born almost 3 years ago, and probably even during my pregnancy, I have heard or read over and over that babies and children need to be on a schedule. It helps them know what to expect. It helps babies know the difference between night and day. It makes a parent’s life easier.
We were not the type of parents to set a schedule for our daughter. She slept when she slept, ate when she was hungry, and played when she was awake and wanted to play. We went out different times, different days. She was the only child, I didn’t have a lot of commitments out of the house, and she really didn’t need a schedule. She still knew that as a baby when she woke up it was time to eat. As she grew up and she woke up in the mornings, it was time for cheerios. We did have some form of a routine in our lives, but no set schedule that kept us tied down day to day. We enjoyed being able to do things whenever we wanted and we able to and it didn’t hurt our daughter. We simply did not see a reason to be strict on a schedule for a baby.
Once she reached the toddler stage and had a more solid sleep time at night, we ‘scheduled’ things a bit more. I don’t mean we wake up her at the same time every morning, we don’t eat lunch at noon everyday, and we don’t go out the same time every week. We plan each day as it comes. If she got to bed late, then she will sleep later, which makes other parts of the day possibly happen later than normal. Did she take a late or extra long nap? If so, she may have supper later than usual or get to stay up a little later that night.
Now with two children, things are a little harder than when it was just one. Since Darren was born I’ve been faced with the question of whether or not he needs to be on a schedule. Believe it or not, I think there’s more of a need for him to have a schedule than there was for Grace. Since there’s more to my day than simply tending to one baby 24/7, it’s necessary to attempt to get an order to things. Even so, I’m not trying to be extremely strict on when things happen (it’s just not that easy with a growing newborn). I’m just trying to put a little order to our days whenever possible.
To answer my question: No, I don’t believe children NEED to be on a schedule. Those without a schedule can have just as good of a childhood as those who do not. I’m curious to know if there are other parents out there that feel the same way. Are you a strict scheduler? Or are you laid back and let things happen when they happen? Why are you the way you are?